Ina Mae

Ina Mae had a temper, a terrible temper.  That’s what her daughter-in-law, my Grandma A., told me.  My dad remembered, though, that she loved it when the boys–he and his brothers–wrestled around on the floor.

Ha, speaking of my dad, I called him this morning on false pretenses.  I’m worried about him, because every time I talk to him in the evening, he seems tired and rambly and, more distressing to me, uncomfortable.  In the mornings, though, he sounds like his usual self.  I tried to convince him to get on Facebook, but he said that the line to kick his ass already reached half way around the world and he didn’t need the whole internet coming after him, too, and he didn’t think, if he got online, that he could help but pick fights with everyone.

Fair enough.

Anyway, I called to report that Grandpa Hick’s sister, Auntie Vi, was indeed–as confirmed by her grandson on the marvelous Facebook–named Viola Lucia.  Hick and Vi’s mom, Ina Mae, had named her after her mother–Lucia Viola.  Heck, in the earliest census records I found, she is listed as L. Viola, so she may have been named exactly after her grandmother and then had it flipped later.

I’ve been thinking a lot about the names Ina Mae gave her children.  The oldest, the twins, were named Eva and Eva, often spelled Evah, so that you could see the pronunciation difference, but often spelled just the same.  Then there’s Uncle Bill, whose real name is Carol Dewitt.  Then Grandpa Hick, real name Hildreth Heistand, and then Lucia Viola, who became Viola Lucia at some point.

Judging from Vi’s name–after Ina Mae’s mother–and Hick’s name, which is two family last names (Ina Mae’s mother-in-law’s maiden name and her own maiden name), I’m suspicious that “Carol” and “Dewitt” had some meaning for her.  I wonder if they may be family names.  I found a lot about her dad, but nothing more about her mother than her name.  I’m going to hunt for “Lucia Dewitt” or “Lucia Carol” and see what I come up with.

My point is that she took such care in naming her children, so much so that they’ve given me incredibly helpful clues about my family and how to track them down and map them out.  And so I can’t help but wonder why she gave the twins what was, in essense, the same name.

Here is my suspicion.  I don’t think she thought both of them would live.  And, if they were both named Eva, if one died, she would still have a daughter named Eva.

I don’t know.  I don’t know that there’s anyone old enough to know who’s still around.  But that’s what I wonder.


When considering someone’s bullshit, there’s always the “intent” counter-argument.  Like Pete Kotz today is all “Oh, sure, it looks bad for the sheriff to go speak to a white supremacist group, but he’s not really a racist.  He’s just rounding up brown people in order to appeal to his racist constituency.  Totally different.”  So, you can round up brown people specifically because they’re brown and do it to appeal to racists, but still not be racist?  Okay, fine.  Maybe you’re not racist, but your actions certainly are.

You can imagine other instances.  But it always comes down to “We should try to understand what’s in a person’s heart before complaining about his or her behavior, because maybe he or she really didn’t mean in the way it came across.”

If you know me in person, you know why I have no tolerance for the “intent” argument.  I was terrorized for years by a guy who would break into my house to leave me things, who would beat up any guy who talked to me, and threw me into a wall for talking to a guy friend, who screamed at my mother about what a whore I was, and who made the world’s weirdest attempt to rape me.  And, with the exception of my dear friend, Shug, every single person I complained to–the police, my parents, teachers, even his own girlfriend–said, “He doesn’t mean anything by it.  He just really likes you and has an awkward way of showing it.  Just try to see things from his perspective.”  The teacher who saw him throw me into a wall said I should just date him, that dating him would stop his aggression.  Even when I went to college, he would still occasionally skulk around my campus.  By that point, I didn’t even bother to complain.  His intentions trumped my terror and my right to feel safe.

I bring this all up because I want to be clear where I’m coming from.  In my personal experience, “intent” is a bullshit way for people who do know better to be excused by people who don’t want to face up to the problems in their midst.  Maybe that’s not always true.  Maybe I’m jaded by what happened to me.

But it has been my experience that the “intent” argument is made by people who do not want to face up to the terribleness of a situation, especially if that terribleness is perpetuated by someone they like.

Or by ourselves.  There’s been plenty of bullshit I’ve pulled that I justified because “my intentions were good.”  But so what?  People still got hurt.  The fact that I didn’t mean to only goes towards making my apologies carry more weight, not towards excusing my actions–and letting me continue on with them.

So, who cares what Hall’s intentions are?  The result of the program he’s instituted is completely foreseeable.  If you’re targeting a group–“illegal immigrants” in this case–that your constituency is convince is composed mostly of brown people, you’re going to single out brown people, because of their race, to check their immigration status, because that’s what the people who voted for you expect when you institute such a program.

That’s one reason the program never should have been implimented in the first place.  It’s racist.  In order for the people who vote for you to feel like it’s being effective, it has to target brown people, single out brown people.

It doesn’t matter if Hall himself is not personally racist, the program, in order for the public to feel it’s being effective, has to be.  And the level of self-delusion a person such as Sheriff Hall has to have to convince himself that the people who are interested in hearing him talk about the 287(g) program are just interested in “solving the problem of illegal immigration” and not anxious about the influx of non-white, non-English speaking people in our city is staggering.

And yet, we see in his letter to the City Council that this is exactly what he expects us to and may even believe himself.

He writes

At no time before, during, or after did I have any idea what views this organization supported. Keep in mind, I was speaking about the Davidson County Sheriff’s Office immigration program during this meeting – there was never any discussion of their purpose or mission.

This is a man who is supposed to be one of our top law enforcement officers and he wants us (and himself) to believe that it’s too much to ask to connect the dots between a “Council of Conservative Citizens,” his 287(g) program, and racism?

Daron Hall, let me be clear, THE MOST ENTHUSIASTIC SUPPORTERS OF YOUR PROGRAM ARE RACISTS.  Period.  The end.  If a group asks you to come speak about 287(g) and they seem excited about it, you should be suspicious that they are racists. Your policies caused a pregnant woman to be shackled to a hospital bed while she was in labor.  Reports said that the nurses who attended her were so upset by her treatment that they were crying.  Let me repeat, your policies are so draconian you can make nurses cry.  Nurses!  Who see sick and dying people every day.  Your policies towards Hispanics in this city suck.

287(g) is not nor has it ever been value-neutral.  It has always been about terrorizing the Spanish-speaking population of Nashville.  Fine, I believe that Hall might not intend it that way.  He may believe his intentions are good.  But the program is terrorizing Spanish-speaking Nashvillians and it’s emboldening and pleasing racists.  So who cares what the intentions are?  The effects are terrible.

And did Hall send a letter to the community organizations and churches and media in the community most affected by his terrible policies apologizing to them for providing an evening’s entertainment to a group of people who actively wish that community ill?

I mean, really.

If there was any trust between the Hispanic community in Nashville and the Sheriff’s department, it’s got to be ruined now.

And I’d like to hear from the Sheriff what he’s going to do to repair it.  I don’t think “Oh, I won’t talk to racist groups again.  I promise.” is exactly going to cut it.

Holy Shit!

Y’all, I could not stand that neither the dog nor I were in good enough shape to walk to the grade school and back.  I mean, if I had kids, I would think nothing of letting them walk to school from here (except that there are no sidewalks along Clarksville Pike, but if they cut through back yards over to Lloyd…) and neither of us is in good enough shape to do it?  Now, granted, I was in a really bad way with all the medical stuff going on and getting it straightened out has been no picnic and Wigglebottom had her knee surgery, but the doc says she’s ready for her regular life and I’m feeling ready for my regular life and so there’s just no excuse to let the fucking grade school be out of our walking range.  Shoot.

So, today we got up and walked.  Not to the school and back obviously, but to the bottom of the hill that did us in.  Because, clearly, that’s the trick.  We’ve got to be able to get up and down that hill twice.  Walking to the bottom of it is no biggie.  Getting up and down it is what’s going to do us two old out of shape broads in.  So, we’ll work up to it.

But the reason that I’m holy shitting is that it’s [pause for disclaimer: my part of town sucks.  It’s ugly.  The people are rude.  We’re all crammed in here like sardines.  Um, it smells.  Things don’t grow so we all have mud for lawns, tiny ugly lawns.  And they pay children to come around and kick you.  It sucks.  Oh, and it’s expensive.  And random plants electrocute you and bite your cats.  Stay away!  Or abandon all hope once you get here.  I cry every night wishing we didn’t live here.  You will too.  Did I mention the constant gunfire on the weekends?] so damn beautiful here at dawn.  Lloyd is up higher than we are and you look down and over the cow pasture and the whole sky is blue and pink and lavender and the clouds are all gray and yellow and then a huge black spot starts to shake in the pasture and there’s this noise like a million whispers and the spot lifts out of the tall grass and hundreds of birds fly right over your head.  And there are so many crows calling to each other that you strain to see if you can see them because it sounds like there must be twenty of them and you have never seen a murder of crows in person before, only single or in pairs or maybe threes.

It’s just unbelievable.  I want to be out in it all the time.

Oooo, and the best part?  It’s cold enough here right now that the grass crunches beneath your feet so that just you and the dog sound like an army.